Medical Center for Birds

3805 Main Street
Oakley, CA 94581


Anesthesia and Life Support

We keep ourselves up-to-date in the latest anesthetic protocols tailored for the species. We utilize isoflurane gas anesthetic for surgical anesthetic maintenance. Isoflurane gas is delivered via endotracheal tube, allowing us to breath for the patient when the need arises. Gas offers several advantages. First, we can raise or lower the bird's anesthetic level quickly. Secondly, since isoflurane gas does not need to be metabolized by the liver (as with most injectables), we can use it with relatively higher safety in sick birds. Third, isoflurane has an excellent safety record (few reactions or adverse side-effects). While under anesthesia, we monitor birds with the following equipment. A few of the items are only available for large birds (>100g) at the present time due to physical limitations of small bodies...

  • Pulse oximetry (estimation of oxygen content in the bloodstream)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG: The electrical activity of the body-- mainly the heart beat)
  • Internal body temperature
  • Auscultation (a technician uses an external or esophageal stethescope to monitor heart beat for rate and rhythm)
  • Blood pressure
Surgical Microscope

A surgical microscope allows us to perform microsurgery on even the smallest birds. During surgery, foot controls allow us to move scope in 3-dimensions and zoom in and out for up-close looks from almost any angle. Camera attachments allow taking photos or shooting video. In combination with microsurgical instruments, the surgical microscope allows us to go above and beyond the usual surgical boundaries.

The Medical Center for Birds has two rigid endoscopes and a variety of accessories for examining or sampling, when necessary, the internal anatomy of birds. Applications of endoscopy include surgical sexing and breeding soundness evaluations, examination of internal organs such as the liver or kidneys, biopsy of internal organs, removal of foreign bodies from the stomach, examination and sampling of airsacs for birds with respiratory illness, and examination of the oral cavity, sinuses, or cloaca.